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Language Learning

Welcome to language learning at Northwestern University!  

Knowledge of a world language other than English is fully aligned with one of the pillars of the Northwestern Mindset, in which the need for deep intercultural understanding is essential. In any of our world language courses, students will gain a deeper understanding of cultures different from their own, become more sensitive to the nature of language and human communication and how it is acquired, and develop a deeper appreciation of one's own first language and culture. Moreover, language proficiency will expand opportunities to study, research, or work abroad, and increase collaboration with people who speak a language other than English. 

Do you want to know more about the language requirements in Weinberg College or other schools?  

For information about what the language requirements in your Northwestern school are, please visit the webpage “Language Requirements." Here, you will also find information about:  

Do you wish to study a new language?  

Northwestern University offers nearly 20 different languages to choose from! All courses are student-centered and focus on improving proficiency in the three modes of communication: interpretative, interpersonal, and presentational. Our award-winning faculty are experts in language learning and pedagogy and will turn every class session into an immersive and engaging experience in the target culture.  

Explore individual language offerings, as well as find out more about how you can pursue advanced language study, such as a minor or a major, in the specific program and department. Your language learning journey starts here! 

Have you already studied a language and need to take a placement test? 

If you plan to continue studying a language that you started in high school or learned at home or while studying abroad, you will need take the placement test in that language.   

If you have questions about placement or opportunities in a particular language, write directly to the placement coordinator in the relevant department (listed in the “Language Placement” webpage).  

Can you receive AP or IB language credit?  

You may receive course credit based on the score on various Advanced Placement (AP) language exams or based on non-English IB language scores. Scores on AP exams can also guide placement into an appropriate course for continued study of a language. For more information, please visit the “AP and IB Language Credit” webpage.  

Do you want/need to study a language not offered at Northwestern?  

All students can study a language not offered at Northwestern through the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Consortium Program. There are however some specific procedures and considerations should a student choose to pursue this option. Please read carefully the information posted on our website and contact the LRC ( if you have any further questions.  

Are you a graduate student interested in learning a language?  

Graduate students can find out how they can pursue language learning at Northwestern in the webpage “For Graduate Students”. They will also find information about funding resources to pursue language study over the summer, and about the Travelling Scholar Program and the Chicago Metropolitan Exchange Program.  

Are you a non-Northwestern student interested in learning a language?

If you are not a Northwestern student, but are interested in taking language classes offered at Northwestern, there are several options. Please see "For Non-Traditional Students."

Do you have questions about a specific language program?  

You can visit the “Language Program Contacts” webpage for a detailed list of faculty and administrators in each program.